July 30, 2012
“Stop the restart!” “Decommission all nuclear power plants!” The chants of 200,000 citizens enveloped the Diet building on Sunday night, July 29. The crowd of protesters overflowed the sidewalks and flooded all 6 lanes in front of the main gate of the building.
The participants responded to online appeals by the Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes (MCAN), which had sponsored weekly Friday night protests in front of the prime minister’s office since March. The demonstrators rallied in Hibiya Park in the afternoon on the same day and later marched to the Diet.
At the large rally in the park, MCAN activist Misao Redwolf called out to the audience, “Let’s show the government our strong determination to shut down the reactivated reactors at the Oi plant and prevent all NPPs in the country from restarting.”
People took part in the day’s actions from all over the nation, including NPP-hosting prefectures such as Hokkaido, Miyagi, Fukushima, Shizuoka, and Fukui. Many parents pushing baby carriages were seen among protesters.
A male participant from Aichi’s Nagoya City said, “We had once succeeded in stopping operations of all NPPs in the country on May 5. I’d like to make the restarted nuclear reactors stopped again and all NPPs decommissioned with our strength in numbers.”
A young woman taking part with her 3 friends from Shizuoka City said, “I am in constant fear of a nuclear accident as the Hamaoka NPP is located near my hometown. Joining forces with everybody, I will work to have all NPPs abolished.”
Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo also gave a speech in front of the Diet building. He criticized the government for forcing the people to choose one option among 3 alternatives concerning the nation’s dependence on nuclear power generation- 0%, 15%, or 20% to 25%. The chair said, “What is needed now is not such a selection of options. It is time for the government to make a bold decision to totally break with nuclear power.”